In the 365 days that have passed, I got poorer by six pens. Five of them I lost while shifting to the new house. I was heartbroken, but didn't quite shed tears over them because I still had a pair of Mont Blancs intact. One was gifted by my wife on the wedding day, and another by a friend as a wedding present. They more than made up for the missing pens, even though the missing pens had stood me through thick and thin, tolerating my mood swings and writing all my stories till the laptop came and forced them to a permanent place in the pen-holder.
Today, one of the Mont Blancs went missing too. The one wife had given me: I had even got my initials engraved on that. How it went missing, I do not know, but I know how it all began. Wife was packing up to go to Calcutta -- for a stay that is short enough not to make me feel miserable missing her, but long enough to enable me to relive my bachelor days. After she left I slept for a while and woke up to find dark clouds outside the window. The wind was throwing things off the shelf in the kitchen. Soon I smelt wet mud. I looked at the clock: only 5 pm. I got down and asked the driver to take me to Landmark, the bookshop. Chennai had never been so cool in months.
I bought four CDs and a book, Ernest Hemingway on Writing. Not my kind of book exactly, because I would rather try to write like Hemingway than read his reported views on the art of writing. But it was cheap, only Rs 288, so I bought it. Back home, alone, I sat on my table and switched on the laptop and, while it took its time opening, I browsed through the book. Instinctively, my hand reached for the pen-holder to find a pen and sign my name on the book. That's when I realised something was amiss.
It is not easy to buy another Mont Blanc: the model I had would cost a chunk of my salary. Even if I have the money, could I buy the sentiment that had made my wife gift the pen? But I guess I deserved losing it. Pen is not jewellery which you keep in the safe and take out only to wear on special occasions. The pen is a vehicle of your thoughts, and it is meant to be used. If I had used it regularly, I would have known where I had kept it the night before. But how can I guard it when I am myself a prisoner of the keyboard?